Grey Shadows

birgitte 1

Last month’s sewing, planned, executed and only slightly delayed in being blogged and shown off!  Most of my plans have been to make more tops -for me.  My stash had a few pieces of grey viscose jersey, all slightly different shades, ever so slightly different in handle and weight too.  In addition to this, I’d got two grey fabrics in South Africa, one a knit with a texture in the knit.  So you could call this my shades of grey adventure, but I’m not going there….

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First up is a grey stripe viscose jersey knit from Croft Mill Fabrics, bought at the end of September.  I opted to make the Maria Denmark Birgitte, using the three quarter sleeve and v-neck option. This really is a quick pattern to make, about an hour or two of your afternoon should suffice.  My adjustments from the original pattern are simple, shorten the body by 3cm, and add an FBA.

collage birgitte

Next, the textured sweater knit.  I suspect this has a fairly large man-made fibre content, given how static it becomes with wear!  The pattern I chose is 107 from Burdastyle January 2015.  It has been on my to-make list for some time, one of those waiting for the perfect fabric, as always.  This might not be the perfect fabric, the pattern probably really needs something with a bit more body, but this is what I had and I wanted to use it up!

collage slouchy sweater

I liked the shape, the neckline and the dropped shoulders.  The pattern itself is simple, only 3 pieces.  It promised to be another quick make!  Now, if you really want to make it quick, add hem allowances to the sleeves and body pieces, and make a facing for the neckline.  I wanted a contrast, both in texture and colour, so wanted to use the binding  to add detail.  I used some of the fabric left over from a previous (and again, unblogged) top.

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Perfect position for pretty pendants

It took a little while to get the binding on, but oh boy was it worth it!  It wasn’t tricky, just needed time and concentration.  I love the contrast and the way it highlights the curved detail on the sides and the neckline.  That neckline is perfect for showing off a pretty pendant.  I made this without any adjustments, deciding that there was enough ease in the pattern to make it fit, but completely ignoring the fact that the other half of the FBA adjustment still needed to be made.  What was that about concentration??

grey sweater 1

Never mind, I have a cosy, comfy sweater I like to wear, and a stripy tee to wear under it!  My grey tee shirt adventure will continue, I finally made a Lark tee!!  That and more, next time, there might even be an update on the new list for March.

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On My Sewing Table 

Or, sewing plans interrupted and replaced with new, more exciting plans! At the beginning of March I made a list of the project I wanted to get through this month, using my free calendar/planner. Of the 7 planned projects I’ve done 2 & 2 are half way. But I’m not excited by them, they are just jobs to do. So I’ve got a new list!

Item one, the one that’s actually cut and in progress. I’ve wanted to make this top for a while and this weekend realised I already had the perfect fabric! The pattern is 105 from Burda magazine 2/2016. The fabric is silk satin and I’ve never seen anything quite like it before or since !

Item two is another top, this one from the original list, one of the half done projects because it’s been toiled and is ready to go. It’s Lekala 4286 & will  be made in a 70s polyester floral print with the biggest, brightest print  ever!

Item three is another Burda top, a pattern I’ve used before and really like. The fabric is cotton voile from Fabric Godmother about two years ago. Pattern is #138 8/2011.

Items four, five and six are culottes #104 2/2017! Following the success of the previous pair I found two pieces of fabric for daughter no1 and one for me!😇

Item seven uses this beautiful blue viscose I bought in Derby I think five years or so ago, time flies!! I’m making another Burda pattern, top #115B 8/2015, which is another that’s been on my list for a while.

And last, but by no means least, item eight is another top, another Burda pattern. This time it’s #103 from 2/2016, using a really pretty  bit of white broiderie anglaise that’s got a silver finish and grey jersey from the Fancy Silk Store in Birmingham.
So, enough to keep me busy for the next  ten  days?? 😉 Do you throw out your plans when things don’t really excite you enough to provide motivation to get them done? Or are you a good planner?

My Toasty Talvikki Sweater

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Talvikki sweater in quilted jersey

Sweater tops and sweatshirts have been all over my Instagram feed in the last couple of months, with loads and loads of Toaster sweaters dominating, just the way the Linden did  last year.  I bought the Talvikki sweater on its release with the Pulmu Pencil skirt to make for the daughters.  I figured this was the time to make the Talvikki for me, using the quilted navy jersey bought in South Africa when looking after my mum.

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According to the size table the 48/50 should be cut.  I checked the finished measurements and looked at others online before deciding it would be way too big on me, too baggy, and that was not a look I wanted.  So I cut the size smaller and it seems to have worked!  This particular version is straight from the pattern, I’ve changed nothing.

talvikki 2

The darts look fabulous radiating from the raised neckline and I love the hemline with split side seams.  The instructions are dead simple and the sweater makes up pretty quickly too.  I used the overlocker for all the construction, and twin needled the hems.

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Changes to be made next time…  If I find another lovely fabric to make another version there are two things I’d change.  The neckline on me is too narrow for the height, it could do with being 3-4 cm wider to be properly comfortable on me.  Then there is the length of the sleeves.  They’re a little too long for me, for now I’ve just turned them up like the model has in the photos (this should have been a hint..)  I will be taking my seam ripper to the hem stitching and shortening the sleeve by 3cm.  Unfortunately I forgot that I’d turned up the cuffs on the sleeves when these photos were taken!

talvikki 5

But there will be another one, I really like wearing my Talvikki sweater and have had compliments from friends and family which is always nice.  In fact, I’ve worn it so much that the fabric is starting to pill – not nice.  Now to find suitable fabric, but it won’t come from the stash, there’s nothing in there that’s suitable.  I’ve got a couple of tops to make next, and a pair of Morgan jeans that’s been sitting on my cutting table since the pattern came out.  I’ve got a lot to catch up on from last year!

 

Wardrobe Architect Plans Continue

Last Saturday was the Sew Brum event, a meet-up of a number of sewing bloggers in Birmingham.  I decided last minute – as you do – to have something new for the occasion.  And I mean last minute.  I had a new haircut on Tuesday, traced a pair of Burda trousers on Wednesday, had various interruptions & only managed to finish them on Friday morning.  I also started to patterncut a new blouse on Thursday morning.  Something had to give & unfortunately it was the top.

Trousers 143 from Burdastyle 2/2013
Trousers 143 from Burdastyle 2/2013

But first – the item I did manage to finish to wear to the meet-up.  Typically with no spare time, I picked a pattern I’d not used before & haven’t toiled.  I chose a pair of trousers from February 2013 Burdastyle magazine, number 143. The pattern has a slightly dropped, shaped waistband, front fly, hip yoke pockets and cuffs on a slight bootcut shape leg.

This is one the Curvy Collective could add to their list to try out.  It’s a plus size pattern & I traced the 44-48.  I don’t have much waist definition, going straight up from the hip, so I made sure I had enough sizes to grade up.  As it was, I used the 44 on the leg up to the hip line & graded up to the 46 from hip up to the waistband.  It’s a trifle snug because of the lack of stretch, but I’m satisfied with the result.  At least I know they won’t be falling down during the day!

I had to shorten the pattern by 4cm.  The finished length was to be 108cm, which I thought would be ok on me, but when I pinned the cuffs in place they dragged on the floor- not a good look for winter trousers!  I had to chop off the hem turn of the cuffs & reposition them, but now I’ve shortened the paper pattern by the requisite amount so next time will be all good.  I really like the shape of the trousers on me, considering I normally go for wide swooshy ones!  But that style doesn’t work in the winter, I needed a more fitted, shorter style.  I will use this pattern again, but I have my eye on two others to try too.

DSC09948-1The fabric is from Croft Mill, a two tone tiny herringbone cotton chino-type fabric with no stretch.  It has great body and is well suited to the style of trouser I chose – but this is one of those fabrics that creases badly in the washing machine, and then leaves the evidence of that creasing in the loss of colour.  It’s a real shame because now the trousers look like they constantly need an iron.  I’ll leave it for a little while, but I feel I’m going to need to get the dye out, which will lose me those teeny tiny herringbones.

Cuffs & hip yoke pockets lined with grey satin
Cuffs & hip yoke pockets lined with grey satin

I bound the inner waistband edge with the left overs of the lilac bias binding from Daughter No2’s vintage jacket & used a grey satin for the pocket bags.  As I was in a rush I simply zig-zagged the seam allowances.  Not the most perfect finish, but it does the job.

DSC09958-1The top I completed this week, yesterday in fact.  It’s sort of my contribution towards the Sewcialists’ Scraptember challenge, even though it was only dreamt up & made now in early October. I had some left over black & white spot silk de chine form a blouse I’d made a few years ago and loved to bits.  Literally.  I wore it until it fell apart.  The fabric has such a fabulously luxurious feel and the way it flows and drapes while you wear it is just beautiful.  Anyway, I’d kept the bits, because they were big enough for something, just not an entire new something.  Then by chance I found more of the same stuff in Fred Winters in Stratford on Avon!  Perfect!  I bought a metre and immediately hatched a plan.

Self-drafted silk crepe de chine faux placket blouse
Self-drafted silk crepe de chine faux placket blouse

I wanted something similar to the original top, but also wanted to do a twist on a traditional placket.  My go-to length for sleeves is three-quarters and I do love the sleeve I developed for my Jungle January blouse.  I cut the sleeves, cuffs & neckbands from the silk I had left over and cut the front, back & placket from the new piece.

Close-up of the neck-band & faux placket
Close-up of the neck-band & faux placket

The collar is more of a neckband, and the placket more like a facing sewn on the wrong side & turned to the right side & topstitched in place.  The bust dart was moved to the underarm position & I took a little of the waist darts out in the side seam so it wasn’t too tent-like.  Construction was pretty straightforward, French seams throughout, double turned dipped at the back hem.  I used Gill Arnold’s fine sheer fusible interfacing on the outer neckband, placket & cuffs.  The interfacing was definitely needed on the placket to keep it under control for the turning under of the seam allowances!

DSC09968-1I’m in love with the result!  Ok, so maybe a thin light silk top is not really a practical make for October, but I could wear a vest top underneath for added warmth.  The biggest advantage is that it’s done! Another top that fits my requirements and uses the fabric in the boxes.  Even if it does mean I had to buy a little to complete the project.  And yes, its more spots 🙂  What can I say, I feel overwhelmed by most patterns, but checks, stripes & spots I can live with.  So far this year I’ve made 4 blouses with definite spots/circles & two with variations on the theme.  Oh, and one tee, not blogged.  There is still another silk satin in the stash box with my name on it – spotted, of course! We’ll have to see what I decide to make next but I have plans to make another two pairs of trousers.

I bought a stone coloured cotton twill & a gold-sand colour stretch cotton chino from Croft Mill fabrics earlier in the year for winter trousers & I’m thinking of using 118 from Burdastyle 08/2013 for the gold & 134 from Burdastyle 04/2012 for the stone.  Just to get them traced & toiled first…

These are all resulting from my work on the Wardrobe Architect project.  Have any of you been using yours much to further your wardrobes this year?

It’s Atomic!

Sliding over the end of the month with a couple of days to spare, I have a third entry for the Sewing Double challenge from the Monthly Stitch!  It also only just qualifies as a #Sewcialist project too.  April was the month to sew with pink, but as that colour doesn’t present itself around this house very often, a light blush sort of pink will have to do!

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The fabric used is one of the pieces I got my husband to buy me from John Lewis in January.  I was determined it would not end up in the silk stash box, so the two pieces have been languishing on my sewing table, taunting me into making them up!

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Trying to look model-like in the gardens at Upton House with a whole bus load of tourists coming up the path!

I didn’t use a self drafted pattern for this fabric – it’s a well used, tried & tested Burdastyle one.  Style 138 from August 2011 has been made 4 times already, and I do love the shape & of course, the sleeves!  🙂  I also love how quickly it can be made, even when French seaming the entire thing.

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I only made two alterations – one is the length.  The pattern in the magazine is 10cm longer.  There is no reason to exaggerate my short legs, so I lopped that off the paper pattern when I made the first one & have stuck to the revised length.

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The other alteration was not to have the bias-trimmed opening at the back neck.  The neckline is wide enough to pull over your head without it, but I did keep the separate back yoke with rouleau loops because I’d found the perfect vintage glass pearl buttons in the button basket at a charity shop!

So that’s one more top in my wardrobe – a coloured (slightly) and printed one to boot!  I have spent some time developing a couple of patterns, they await a toile and all that jazz, but I am hopeful for them.  I also made a pattern for a dress for Daughter No1, but left it until the day before she was to go back to Uni, so while the dress is now finished, I cannot show you it on her!  I can show you a little bit…

Sketch for a 50s inspired wiggle dress & the fabric - stashbusting!
Sketch for a 50s inspired wiggle dress & the fabric – stashbusting!

I really must get cracking on those toiles, but I got inspired by a mad print in my stash box & decided to do a little vintage sewing with it.  You’ll have to see Vintage Belle to see what I’m up to!

For those of you interested in seeing the other versions of the Burdastyle top 138, here are the links:

Green & Black – the first version

Dotty Spotty top

Liberty Silk top

Cool Swap Blouse

 

The Midnight Blues

I’ve made another blouse!  *Doing the Happy Dance*  A good tune for this particular Happy Dance is Goodluck’s “Le Good Life“.  Not heard of Goodluck? – not surprised really!  They’re a new South African band & they produce some smashing tunes!  Anyhoo, who wants to see the new stuff???

DSC07248-1What, you can’t see it??  Silly me, I’m still all wrapped up!  Best I remove the jacket – yes..?

DSC07252-1Heeehee, just teasing!  It was pretty chilly though, but you can get some glimpses around the scarf.  Not enough?  Humphf, I guess I’ll just get cold then.  Here you go!

DSC07271-1Well???  Whaddya think?!  Me?  I love it!  It’s turned out better than I had hoped!  🙂  The concealed buttonstand is fab & I think my favourite bit is the collar!

DSC07273-1DSC07257-1I guess you’d like a bit of info now, would you?  Right.  Starting with the sleeve, I traced the sleeve block with straight seams to the 3/4 length to be gathered into a narrow sleeve band.  They were pretty straight forward.  The back bodice has gathers into a yoke.  I used the same yoke depth for this as on the Polka Dot blouse from last week, but instead of having the gathers only above the shoulderblades, I added 3cm on the fold in the centre & gathered the entire length.  Again I shaped the hem as I have done in all the blouses so far.

Tucks on front yoke
Tucks on front yoke

The front yoke is 7cm deep, & has three 5mm tucks.  The original shoulder dart was altered so I have a small underarm dart & the rest was put into gathers into the front yoke.  I doubled both the front & back yokes for a bit of extra strength.  For the neckline I first copied the depth of the Jungle January blouse, knowing that I was comfortable with it.  The button stand is 4cm wide, so this was removed from the front & then fiddled with to make the tucks & the concealed bit.  It gave me a bit of a headache, but I worked it out in paper with all the folds etc before making the toile.

Working out the spacing for the tucks on the front band
Working out the spacing for the tucks on the front band

The collar is based on a flat collar, like a Peter Pan, but with a low rise.  Originally I made it 6cm wide, but after making the toile, I knew it had to be narrower.  Only 1cm came off, so I wasn’t too far off!  I didn’t use a facing on the inside.  The neckline & collar seams are all trimmed to just under 1cm & a bias strip covers all the messy details.

Collar detail
Collar detail

I used my favourite French seams throughout the blouse – even on the sleeve head.  This georgette isn’t as transparent as others I’ve used, but why go to all the effort of making something gorgeous if the inside isn’t as good as the out??

The inners...
The inners…  French seam on the sleeve on the right, binding strip covering the collar seams on the right & hand stitched inner yoke in the centre

The buttons are some blue tinted mother of pearl that came out of my stash.  I wanted something without bulk & the shell buttons are less than 1mm thick!  I stitched the front tucked band to the band with the buttonholes on every third tuck, ensuring it would stay down & not go flapping about in the breeze.

Concealed button stand
Concealed button stand

That’s another piece of fabric that can consider itself well & truly stashbusted!  This means I have the opportunity of buying 1 more piece.  I need to start saving my allowances for the Stitching show at the NEC at the end of March.  This project also counts as my Sewcialist contribution to #SewBlueFebruary.  I may do another, but it’s good to get one in as the month is already halfway through!

I still need to trace & toile the HotPatterns jeans, & I found another of their jeans patterns in my pattern box!  I think I will have to do both!  🙂  I have also finally dug out some jersey & traced the Plantain pattern.  Let’s see if it fits!

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Me & my silly grin! 🙂

As this blouse has turned out so well, I think I can go ahead now & make another using the navy spot silk chiffon Husband bought me from John Lewis.  Can’t wait to see that made up!

On my sewing table this weekend

I can’t believe it’s another weekend & February is well on the move!  I have another blouse on the pattern table…  This Wardrobe Architect is already coming in really handy, my Pinterest board is pretty full of lovely goodies to copy inspire me & after last weeks post, I have now added Polyvore to my “this takes up all your time you should be spending sewing” problem that I only had with Pinterest up to now!  It’s such fun!

The blouse I’m working on is based on Deer & Doe’s Airelle.  No point in me buying the pattern, they don’t do my size & I really cannot be arsed to do all the adjustments that would be necessary to make it fit me.  I’m doing my own, but please, if you fit the sizing, go ahead & buy a copy, cause I think it’s rather cute.  There are loads of variations on tinternet.  I found this from Asos, & immediately thought of the Airelle.  So I am doing a combination pattern.

Asos blouse, has the bones of the Deer & Doe Airelle
Asos blouse, has the bones of the Deer & Doe Airelle

I love the tucks down the centre front, and also on the yoke.  I thought I’d use the tucked band as a concealed buttonband, rather than pull the thing over my head.  Here is what I was thinking during the week.

Sketch for my version of the Airelle & the Asos blouse
Sketch for my version of the Airelle & the Asos blouse

As you can see from the notes, I think I’ll be making this in a dark blue georgette from the stash.  The Sewcialists are sewing blue in February, a colour I adore so have no problem fullfilling this particular “challenge”.  I have been working on the pattern today & have only made one alteration.  I am not making the deep cuff, but sticking with the narrow sleeve band I’ve used for the previous two blouses.  All the pattern pieces are done, the pieces with the tucks gave me a small headache!

Working out the tucks for the button band
Working out the tucks for the button band

The toile is all cut out & ready, I’m going to get on with that on Monday.  I also have a “new” pattern for jeans/trousers to toile.  I say new in inverted commas because I have had it a while – 2 – maybe 3 years…  Not good.  It is the “Metropolitan Slouchy Trouser Jeans” from Hot Patterns, & I am really looking forward to how these turn out, because they are perfect according to my silhouette research on Polyvore & Pinterest!  🙂  If they are a success, that will be the Smarty Pants Challenge over at The Monthly Stitch sorted!

I just need to get them traced & toiled, I bought a new pair of curtains from the charity shop today for just that purpose!  Then I need fabric, I am on the hunt for a denim that’s more linen like, something that will enhance the floppy-ness of the style.  Happy Sunday sewing, I’m off to a gathering of my students (a full class this time!) in Alveston for our monthly class tomorrow.  So far I know there’ll be 2 pairs of guys trousers in the making, one wrap-over dress and a Renfrew.  Heaven knows what the others are going to spring on me, but I’m happy.  🙂